BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Chinese Vietnamese Burmese Thai Indonesian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
    You are in: Asia-Pacific  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 29 January, 2003, 11:31 GMT
N Korea's Japan ferry 'spying'
Mangyongbong-92
The ferry makes regular trips between the two countries
The only ferry that travels between Japan and North Korea has been used for spying purposes, according to Japanese police and intelligence sources.

The captain of the North Korean ferry relayed espionage orders to a 72-year-old North Korean who was living in Japan, Japanese intelligence said.

Japanese police said they were preparing to launch a prosecution case against the man on charges of using a false identity.

The allegations are likely to further stoke Japanese public anger against North Korea.

There have been angry protests since last year when North Korean leader Kim Jong-il admitted his agents had kidnapped Japanese agents to help the North's intelligence services.

The man was in charge of a spy network which gathered intelligence on South Korea and recruited collaborators, police said.

"We have found out that the man in question was engaged in espionage activities in one form or another for at least eight years after 1993 with directives carried on the North Korean ferry," one intelligence source was quoted as saying by Reuters.

The source said there were several hundred people spying for North Korea in Japan, and at least 70 North Korean agents had been arrested since the 1950-53 Korean War.

Written instructions were reportedly handed over to the North Korean and the ship - the Mangyongbong-92 - returned with his reports.

The 72-year-old was a former senior official of the pro-Pyongyang General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, or Chongryon, Kyodo said.

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told reporters on Tuesday: "We must watch (the vessel) closely lest it be used for crime."

Lifeline

Mangyongbong-92 makes about 20-30 trips a year between Niigata in Japan and Wonsan in North Korea.

The vessel, which carries both aid for North Korea and Korean residents in Japan on visits to North Korea, was built in 1992 with funds from Chongryon.

Protests were held in November in Niigata calling for an end to the ferry journeys, following North Korea's admission that its agents had abducted Japanese citizens for spying purposes in the 1970s and 80s.


Nuclear tensions

Inside North Korea

Divided peninsula

TALKING POINT
See also:

24 Jan 03 | Asia-Pacific
19 Dec 02 | Asia-Pacific
25 Nov 02 | Asia-Pacific
15 Nov 02 | Asia-Pacific
06 Dec 02 | Asia-Pacific
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.


 E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Asia-Pacific stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes